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Report 13 July 2017

Conditions at altitude are becoming even drier, meaning even fewer snow and mixed routes are now feasible.  Likewise, the approaches to, especially the bergschrunds, some rock routes are becoming more complicated.

The weather is due to improve over the next few days and with the rise in temperatures, one needs to be particularly vigilant!

 

- Albert 1er : There has been no activity on the Chardonnet for 10 days. The normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are still OK, though the snow bridges on the glacier are becoming more fragile.   The Table ridge is feasible if started directly by the ridge, (initially bad rock.)  Good conditions also for classic rock routes (Purtscheller S Ridge, Dorées Traverse).

 

- Argentière : No recent news, though the rock routes above the hut are in condition. (some stonefall danger).  The return path from Rognan to Lognan has been re-equipped and now feels less exposed.

 

- Charpoua : The Dru traverse is in good condition, no problems for the glacier, up and down, (done on 13/07).  Rock routes are also OK (Contamine, Sale Athé…)

A lot of parties on the Dru N Face, even though this area is subject to stonefall and summer is not the ideal time.   

 

- Couvercle : Only the rock routes are to be recommended and the approach/return for some of these  are becoming more awkward. Most of the snow and mixed routes are not currently feasible, though conditions change rapidly and it is best to consult the hut warden.

 

- Leschaux : The routes near the hut are dry and the approach to the Petites Jorasses remains OK. The approach to the Périades is also OK, if there is a good night time freeze. The upper part of the Walker Spur still has plenty of snow but with the rise in temperatures one would expect it to be climbed by the start of next week.  Feel free to ask the warden for more information.

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : In general, the bergschrunds are technically difficult in this area. The Mer de Glace face of the Grepon is not being done because of difficulties in descent, (bad state of the Nantillons glacier and abseilling down “Le soleil à rdv avec la lune” is long and complicated.)  No problems for the routes without glacier approach (Tour Verte, Pointes des Nantillons, Pilier des Contes, Dalles de l’Envers).

 

- Le Requin : The approaches to the hut and routes are still in good condition and the rock is free of snow.  The way up the Valley Blanche remains OK, (with care.)

 

- Torino : The Rochefort Arete is being done, the bit of snow that fell in a recent storm has improved conditions.  Good conditions for the traverse of the Grand Jorasses and the normal route, (2 short sections of ice).  The Kuffner and Aiguilles du Diable traverse were done yesterday, some verglas but basically OK.

 

- Les Cosmiques : Mont Blanc by the Trois Monts was done on 13/07 and is popular : the Tacul is OK, (care needed at the 2nd bergschrund), the lefthand track on the Maudit avoids exposure to the seracs , (especially on ascent) but has 2 sections of ice, (use of ice screws possible.) Ice just below the surface on the traverse to the Brenva Col and the Mur de la Côte, but should not slow one down.

Conditions difficult for the Pointes Lachenal, bare ice on the 1st and 3rd summits both on ascent and descent.  The abseil area has loose blocks, expect to make a 30m abseil.

Triangle du Tacul very (too) dry.

 

- Plan de l’Aiguille : The latest information is that conditions on the Frendo have got a lot worse.  Crampons are still needed for the approach to the Peigne N Face.

 

- Les Grands Mulets : The warden is going back up to the hut on the 14th July, so we expect an update of conditions for this route up Mont Blanc on the 16th.

 

- Tête Rousse/ Goûter :  For the moment the condition of the approach to the Gouter is “normal” but the stonefall frequency could increase with a rise in temperatures.  It is important to reduce the risk by crossing the Grand couloir as early as possible, (before the afternoon). The recent storms have cleared the soft snow off the Tete Rousse glacier and crampons are needed to cross it.

 

- Plan Glacier : There has been some storm damage to the footpaths, but no major problems for the approach.  Some awkward sections on the approach to the Durier, though nothing too « dramatic ».

 

- Les Conscrits : The Mont Tondu is very dry and not to be recommended at moment.  The Dômes de Miage are feasible, preferably there and back to the central summit.  Concerning the traverse, the descent to Bérangère is bare ice and requires excellent cramponning technique. Nobody has been on the Aiguilles de Tré-la-Tête and the Lex Blanche for some time now.

 

- Robert Blanc : The Lanchettes Ridge and the Col des Glaciers on the Dôme des Glaciers are in condition. There have been parties on the Petite Aiguille des Glaciers and Mont Tondu. The Glaciers des Glaciers is OK for the moment.

 

- Monzino : Some parties on the Innominata, feasible but more technical than usual.  The rock routes in this area are very popular.

 

- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is well frequented and with no particular problems, (the route goes over a snow bridge which is solid for the moment).

 

- Hiking : Good conditions for the Buet, (good boots and poles suffice). The paths below Flégère are open again, except for the 4x4 track under the cable car which will open on 28th July.  

 

Report 8th July 2017

Some miscellaneous information following the recent good weather.

 

Nearly all the snow that fell at the end of June has now melted away. The mixed routes, which temporarily came back into condition, are now dry again.  Despite the high temperatures in the valleys, the situation at altitude is OK, though night time freezing is variable. Concerning the rock routes, the bergschunds are causing difficulties in some sectors.

 

No major changes in the Albert 1er sector, except that the Chardonnet descent is becoming more awkward, (lots of ice).  The Forbes Ridge is just about feasible but the numerous sections of ice require good technical ability. The Migot Spur is no longer practicable.

 

The Petite Verte is bare ice again.  Stone fall experienced on the approach to the Minaret (05/07).

 

Stone fall also reported on the Grutter, Aiguille des Pèlerins.  The Frendo has been climbed, with a lot of ice in the upper part and stone fall risk from the summit buttress, (respect the time of day.)

 

For hikers and climbers, the first train to Montenvers is at 8h00 and the last train down at 18h30.

 

Good conditions reported for the Drus traverse.  Some snow still at the summit of the Petit Dru, not enough to cause any problems but enough for drinking water if bivovuacing.  (N.B. The Charpoua hut is open!)   Too much snow on the Grand Dru summit for a bivouac.   The descent of the Charpoua glacier is OK, keeping more or less directly below the Y couloir on the Verte.

 

Leschaux sector:  The rock is dry, with the exception of the Walker which still has some snow.

 

Envers sector: The bergschrunds are staring to cause problems. Contact the hut warden for details of the route(s) you want to do. The descent of Nantillons glacier is awkward  It is better to descend from the Grepon by abseilling down "Le soleil a rdv avec la lune".

 

Mont-Blanc: The Trois Monts route remains OK.  No problems with the first bergschrund on the Tacul for the moment. However, the bergschrund in the middle has widened considerably and the large snow bridge there is weakening.  Do not forget that this route traverses under the Tacul and Mont Maudit seracs.   A fixed rope with knots and metal link has been placed at the Col du Mont Maudit, (a lot of bare ice).  The traverse to Brenva Col is in good condition, as long as you keep below the bergschrund.

The Grand Couloir and approach to the Gouter hut are in “summer” conditions, i.e. dry.  Take heed of the safety advice.

 

On the Italian side, the Aiguilles Grises route has been done but the glacier du Dôme is becoming a maze of crevasses.

 

Reasonable conditions for the Tricot integral, the Bionnassay traverse, the Kuffner Ridge and the Aiguilles du Diable traverse, though they are more technically demanding than usual.

 

Report 5th July 2017

Here is the latest information, following the recent, mixed weather.

 

It snowed down to about 2500m at the end of last week but, with the exception of a few shaded areas high up, the rock is now dry again.

 

The recent snowfall has temporarily improved conditions for some of the snow and mixed routes but with very warm weather, the bare ice is reappearing again.  This process will be accelerated over the next few days: early starts and extra care are needed!

 

- Albert 1er : No problems for the Aiguille du Tour with the exception of the Table Couloir, which has been out of condition for some  time now. Conditions OK at the moment for the Cols du Pissoir and Midi des Grands The normal routes on the Tête Blanche and Petite Fourche are also OK but be aware the snow bridges on the approach are now weak.

Concerning the Chardonnet, only the Forbes Ridge has been done and not in good conditions, (recent serac fall at the start and ice on the route).  2 x 60m ropes are useful for the descent of the normal route and there is a wide crevasse blocking the way, (though possible to get around for the moment.)

 

- Argentière : The normal route on the Petite Verte was done in good condition on 04/07.  Cols du Tour Noir and Argentière are tracked.   Good, mixed conditions for the Flèche Rousse Ridge.  There is a lot of ice on the Glacier du Milieu, (a good cramponning technique needed.)  The bergschrund goes on the true left bank, (right looking upwards,) then traverse to the true right side, (thin snow bridge.)    The rock routes near the hut are in good condition.

 

- La Charpoua :  The rock has dried quickly and parties left today (05/07) for “Sale Athée” and the  “Contamine”  on the Evèque.  There is still some snow left high up but not enough to cause problems and the traverse of the Drus looks feasible.

 

- Le Couvercle : The rocks near the hut are dry but the Moine Ridge on the Verte still has too much snow.  The Whymper Couloir is not at all feasible but the traverse of the Courtes, (there and back) should be possible, (good ability and early start essential).  The Point Isabelle is very awkward and with a wide bergschrund.

 

- Leschaux : The rocks near the hut are dry but the Grandes Jorasses still has too much snow.

 

- Envers des Aiguilles : Parties climbing everywhere on dry rock.  The bergschrund for the “Subtilité Dulférienne” is no longer possible and that for the “Soleil a rendez-vous avec la Lune” is awkward.

 

- Requin : Good conditions for rock climbing near the hut. Continuing up the Valley Blanche still possible, though care needed with weak snow bridges.   

 

- Torino : The Dent du Géant is in good condition but the Rochefort Arete is narrow and pointed and the approach is becoming dry.  Parties on the traverses of the Aiguilles d’Entrèves and Marbrées, the Kuffner and the Aiguilles du Diable, no further information.  With the hot weather, there is a stone fall danger, especially around the Tour Ronde.  Rock climbing virtually everywhere in the Cirque Maudit and on the Tacul satellites. 

 

- Cosmiques : Rock climbs in condition.  Also, the Contamine Negri and Mazeaud have been done, no further information.  The Pointes Lachenal traverse is back in condition.  The Tacul and Maudit are tracked, no further information.  The Midi-Plan Arete, (to the Aig du Plan, there and back,) was done today, (05/07) in generally good conditions, though ice is beginning to reappear in some places.

 

- Grands Mulets : The traverse of  the Pèlerins  glacier from the Plan de l’Aiguille  is done at the level of the buvette, (way markers) and not by following the path marked on the IGN map. After the traverse, the moraine goes OK at the level of the “point jaune”, (yellow marker?). Glacier des Bossons and Jonction are OK, (way markers). Take care below the hut as the snow bridges are becoming weaker.   Good conditions at the moment for the Nord du Dôme ridge.

 

- Goûter : The Mont Blanc normal route is basically in good condition but care needed crossing the Grand Couloir.  It is essential to move quickly and to cross as early as possible, (both on the up and the down.)

 

- Durier : The Bionnassay Ridge is in good condition.

 

- Conscrits : The  Dômes de Miage traverse is still feasible despite  a very narrow and pointed section and ice appearing  some areas.  No problems for the Bérangère.

 

- Gonella : The normal Italian route up Mont Blanc is in good condition. The latest information for the Tournette Spur is that it is not in condition.

 

- Monzino :  Parties left today (05/07) for the Peuterey, Innominata Integrals and the Brouillard Ridge, no further information.  No special problems for the approaches to the Eccles bivouac and the Pilier Rouge du Brouillard.

 

Hiking :

 

A reminder that all the paths between the Floria and Flégère are closed until 28th July because of works, (copy of the legal decision available on the Chamoniarde site.)  

There has been a land slip below the Aiguille Pourrie which crossed the South Grand Balcon path.  This area remains unstable, so do not linger here.   Crampons are no longer needed for the normal way up Mont Buet but there are still snow patches so good hiking boots and walking poles are essential.

 

Report 30th June 2017

A quick update following the bad weather this week.

 

Snow has settled down to 2300/2500m but this will quickly disappear below 3000m with the sun.

 

Above this, there is 15cms of fresh snow at the Torino hut and 20cms at the Cosmiques hut, (40cms of windblown snow throughout the week), 30cms of windblown snow at the Gouter hut and 20cm at the Envers hut. (see photo).

 

Since the beginning of the week, at lot more snow has probably fallen above 3800m and the snow cover will have been affected by the strong winds.  This will have created an avalanche risk, notably on the 3 Monts route, for which it would be wise to wait a bit.

 

After the bad weather, the mixed routes look white again but the conditions are unlikely to have improved.  However, the temperatures have dropped and, if this continues there should be a, temporary, improvement in the general conditions at altitude.

 

Concerning the rock routes, it is necessary to wait a bit for the rocks to dry.

 

Report 23June 2017

An update of the report from 20th June following the rapid change in conditions due to the hot weather.

It continues to be very hot and stone fall is causing concern is some areas.  Generally, it is best to stick to climbs on stable rock, even though some snow/mixed routes remain feasible, (given a good freeze and an early start.)

 

Albert 1er sector: The descent gully from the Aiguille du Chardonnet is bare ice, it is necessary to carry abseil ropes. There are still sections of bare ice on the Forbes Ridge, (see 20/06 report.)  Good conditions on the Table Ridge and the normal routes on the Aiguille du Tour, Petite Fourche and Tête Blanche.

 

Argentière sector: The Grand Montets lifts open on Saturday 24/06.  The Petite Verte looks to be in bad condition, (bare ice).   The OHM is waiting for more condition reports (Petite Verte, Grands Montets Ridge to the Aiguille Verte…). 

 

Charpoua sector: The Contamine on the Grand Dru was climbed on 22/06 in good conditions. The glacier was OK, though maybe not for long.

 

Couvercle sector:  The bergschrund for the Moine Ridge is awkward and the upper part still has a lot (too much?) snow.

Envers des Aiguilles sector: The missing ladders and steps on the hut approach have been replaced.  The unstable zone above the start of the ladders has been purged but the area is still to be avoided after rain.  The granite climbs are in excellent condition, the bergschrunds still being OK.  The Ryan Ridge looks feasible. However, the start is complicated with 3 bergschrunds, keep to the rocks to the left, technical.  It is not recommended to descend the Nantillons glacier because of crevasses and stonefall.  Descent from the Grepon is possible by abseilling down the Piola route "Le soleil a rendez-vous avec la lune" on the Envers side, from Point Balfour.

 

Cosmique / Aiguille du Midi sector:   The 3 Monts remains popular, the Tacul is OK (use the righthand track,) some ice at the Col du Mont Maudit (2 axes useful for the leader, no fixed rope in place.)  Take the lower track towards the Col de la Brenva, (which goes along below the bergschrund, the higher track is exposed and icy).  The Contamines-Mazeaud and Grisolle on the Tacul Pyramide are feasible, given a good freeze and an early start.  The Gervasutti Pilla r is in good condition.

 

Torino / Helbronner sector: The Dent du Géant approach is dry but OK.  The Rochefort ridge is awkward, (very narrow and with ice sections) Different opinions, (depending technical ability?) reported for the Kuffner.  The bergschrund in the approach couloir is fragile. The Aiguilles du Diable traverse is still feasible.

 

Goûter: The dry, hot weather has increased the stonefall risk in the Grand Couloir, including the morning.   Conditions are not good and it is best to postpone plans for an ascent.

 

Monzino: The Eccles bivouac is accessible.  The Innominata ridge was done 22/06 in bad conditions.  Rocks/blocks were streaming down the gully between the two ridges. Therefore, it is not recommended until better freezing conditions prevail.   The Brouillard Ridge (integral) is also not recommended, due to unstable boulders. The Bonatti on the Brouillard Red Pillar has been climbed recently.  The belays and bolts on the Gabarrou-Long ont have been renewed. The pillar is dry, it was approached  by abseiling from the Eccles.

 

Stay safe !

The Chamoniarde ( http://www.chamoniarde.com/en/mountain-topics/climbing-report-book ), looks forward to your reports to help with future updates….

 

 

Report 20th June 2017

Starting with some information for hikers:

With the opening of some of the lifts, the hiking season is now well underway.

Most of the trails are without problems, despite the continued presence of some snow patches, (especially on north facing slopes in the Aiguille Rouges).  If there has been a clear, cold night, crampons may be essential for Mont Buet or for the descent from Col de Salenton towards Bérard.
No problems with the Col du Brévent and the path from the Index to Lac Blanc.  
Also, no problems to get to the Albert 1er hut from the La Tour lifts.

The few snow patches between Platé and the Dérochoir, (above Plaine Joux,) do not cause any difficulties.  

Conditions for the Tour du Mont Blanc have improved and the Col des Fours and the Fenêtre d’Arpette are now feasible; some snow patches remain but these should soon disappear.  

 

For the alpinists:

With the current heatwave, many of the snow and mixed routes are rapidly going out of condition.    The approaches to some of the rock routes (bergschrunds and gullies) are also deteriorating and it is advised to consult the Office de Haute Montagne, the hut wardens or the guides etc, for the latest information.

 

- Albert 1er: The Copt and Table couloirs are now out of condition for the season.  The Migot Spur is not to be recommended. The Forbes Arete remains feasible, despite some ice, (2 ice axes and some ice screws recommended).  The descent from the Chardonnet is OK for the moment.  The normal routes on the Tête Blanche, Petite Fourche and Aiguille du Tour are OK but take care on the glacier and while crossing the bergschrunds.

- Argentière: The rock routes are free of snow.  Awaiting information on other routes, though they look to be very dry.

- Charpoua : The hut is open and the climbing conditions are good in this sector. A party has done the Petit Dru, (there and back) and the traverse looks feasible.  The glacier goes OK for the moment.  The approach to the hut is via the new ladders situated just before the Egralets.  Those opposite Montenvers were removed last year. Access to the Flammes de Pierre involves several pitches of climbing, abseiling on return, (the line is a bit to the right of the « old » way directly opposite Montenvers; topo available from the OHM. From Montenvers, please use the ladders and do not go via the ice caves.

- Couvercle: The Whymper Couloir is no longer feasible.  Rock climbing is the main activity for this sector, though the Courtes traverse is OK, if there is a good freeze and that one starts very early.  The moraine on the approach to Egralets is in bad condition and appears to be dangerous.  Use the new approach to be found a little earlier on the Mer de Glace.

The Jardin Ridge goes well for the moment as does the Grands Montets ridge, with some ice on the N side, (cable car shut.) The descent by the Moine ridge is still about 80% snow and technical. Also, the bergschrund is very wide.

- Leschaux: The rock near the hut is in condition including the Petites Jorasses (Anouk).  There is still snow on the top third of the N face of the. Grandes Jorasses but it is melting rapidly.
- Requin: Climbing above the hut, with the approaches being good.  Some parties have gone up the Valley Blanche.  Nobody on the Midi-Plan

- Envers des Aiguilles: Lots of activity in this sector.  Access and route conditions OK.

- Torino: Rock climbs in good condition but the approaches to some of the routes on the Tacul satelittes are becoming more awkward.   Traverse of the Aiguilles Marbrées and the Entrêves are being done. On the Tour Ronde, the SE ridge intergral is in condition.  Good conditions for the Dent du Géant but the Rochefort Ridge is awkward.  The traverse of the Valley Blanche towards the Aig du Midi is OK but care needed as some of the snow bridges are becoming weak.  Parties on the Kuffner by the direct approach but conditions are not great and it is still corniced in places.

- Cosmiques: With the heat, activity is mainly centered on the rock climbs.  The first pitch of the Chéré couloir is totally dry.  The Contamines Mazeaud and Grisolle look to be feasible, (given good freezing,) but the bergschrunds are big.  One party on the Pilier des 3 Pointes, supposedly in good condition.  Nobody on the Gervasutti Pillar, but looks like it should go.  The 3 Monts is popular.   The traverse of the Pointes Lachenal has been abandoned in favour of the Laurence and Cosmiques Aretes.

- Plan de l’Aiguille: The rocks in this sector are dry and in condition, though crampons may be necessary for some snow patches. Charmoz-Grépon in good condition but the Nantillons glacier will soon no longer be feasible.  Parties on the Frendo Spur, no further information other than the left exit being favoured.

- Grands Mulets:  No longer feasible with skis but conditions remain OK on foot. The Jonction goes well, (follow the higher line of indicators). The snow bridges in the bowl below the hut need care. The N ridge of the Dôme is in condition despite some ice, (no need yet to pitch it).

- Goûter: With the hot weather, the danger of stonefall has increased and it is very important to cross the Great couloir before the afternoon.  Work is being carried out on the rail track between Mont Lachat and the Nid Aigle and it is forbidden to walk on/near the track before 1/12/2017,  (by municipal order.). 

- Plan Glacier / Durier : Lancherons Ridge is dry and the glacier OK for the approach to the Durier hut.  Mettrier ridge is very dry. Bionnassay traverse in generally good condition, despite several cornices.  

- Conscrits: It is best to approach the hut by the suspension bridge footpath, rather than by the glacier.  Central peak of Dôme via the col des Dômes, (there and back) in good condition but the traverse is more awkward. There is a 20m section of bare ice that is very narrow and needs to be passed “a cheval”. Descent to the Bérangère has some ice, which can be by-passed for the moment.   Mont Tondu is in condition, with some ice, easily avoided. Traverse of the Aiguilles de Tré la Tête is condition but with an ice pitch at the summit of the N peak.

- Monzino: conditions perfect for the rock routes.  Parties on the Innominata, no further information. The Brouillard Ridge intergral was done on 16/17 June.  Some snow after the Col Rey then inconsistent snow on the exit from the S face and in the exit gully.

 

Without doubt the conditions will change over the coming days as result of the heatwave. Take care!

 The Chamoniarde ( http://www.chamoniarde.com/?page_id=1857&lang=en ), looks forward to your reports to help with future updates….